Your Career In Nursing
Eric Maag and Kate Bertke
Nursing may be right for you
If you are interested in:
- Health care and science
- Helping people
- Teaching people about their health
- Providing advice and support
If you are:
How/Where to get training
There are three levels of nursing with different levels of educational requirements: a diploma from an accredited nursing program or hospital for a licensed practical nurse, an associate's degree in nursing from a two-year program, or a bachelor's degree from a four-year program for a registered nurse. To practice in the profession, both registered nurses and practical nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Increasingly, employers are seeking registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN). Additional certifications in nursing specialty areas, master's degrees and doctorates allow nurses to advance in the profession. At Ohio Northern University, the nursing program leads to a BSN and preparation for the NCLEX-RN.
Registered nurses work for hospitals, doctors, home health agencies, nursing homes, correctional facilities, schools, summer camps and the military.
Nurses work with healthy people as well as the sick, with all ages and in many different settings. Hospitals and other health care facilities normally operate around the clock, so nurses can work different shifts.
Jobs in this field
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for registered nurses is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected because of technological advances, an increased emphasis on preventative care, and the large, aging baby-boomer population, which will require more health care services.
In 2010, the median wage of registered nurses was $64,690, or $31.10 per hour.
Resources - How to find out more
Helping people is a way of life for nurses. If you are caring, compassionate, understanding and interested in the science of how the human body works, nursing may be the challenging career for you.
A good nurse is a professional who can act on behalf of the patient, work well under pressure, and leave emotions and prejudices at home to treat every patient with respect.
Nurses work in a variety of settings and take on many different roles, from educator to caregiver to friend. “It is more than just passing pills and doing what the doctor wants you to do,” says Kate Bertke, a registered nurse in the emergency department (ED) at St. Rita’s Medical Center (SRMC). “You must be able to use critical-thinking skills and apply them to different situations.”
“You need to enjoy people. People are what make nursing nursing. You must be able to relate to your patients in any situation and not pass judgment,” says Bertke.
Bertke is a graduate of St. Marys Memorial High School and received her Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) from Ohio Northern University in 2011. She has been a registered nurse at SRMC for about a year but worked there as a nurse tech for about four years. Her ONU classmate, Eric Maag, a graduate of Columbus Grove High School, also works in the SRMC ED.
As a high school junior, Maag says, “I really dug deep, trying to find a career that would fit my personality and make an impact on people. I job-shadowed several professions, but nursing really stood out and fit into the categories I wanted to pursue.” He first attended college as a nursing major in Cleveland on a basketball scholarship, but after two years transferred to ONU’s nursing program to be closer to family.
Bertke says, “We care for a variety of patients on a day-to-day basis. There is no specialty in the emergency department; you see it all. I love the fast-paced environment and the need to be constantly ‘on your toes.’”
Maag adds, “Emergency nurses see many different patients in a day’s time, which requires you to know a little bit about every disease process. It is important to use the assessment skills you acquire in school and on the job to identify if the injury or condition needs immediate attention.”
That’s part of the attraction, Bertke says. “There are so many things that make me enjoy nursing, but mostly it is the patients that I care for. So many of the patients have life lessons that you can learn from. I also love the flexibility of nursing.”
Maag explains, “Nursing is always growing, and there are so many different options. If you don't like a job or the environment you’re working in, you won't have a difficult time finding something else that may be more suitable. Hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, etc., are always looking for nurses.”
Nursing is not for everyone, but for those who are up to the challenge, “it is one of the most rewarding careers I can think of,” says Bertke. “You are able to go home at the end of the day and know that you made a difference in someone's life even if it's as little as giving them a drink of water or listening to how their day is going. You are making a difference.”